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Weber’s Evans honored as school employee of the year in Utah

By Harrison Epstein - | Oct 27, 2021
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Utah Recognizing Inspiring School Employees Award winner Michael Evans, of the Weber School District, accepts his award in Ogden on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021.
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Michael Evans holds the Utah Recognizing Inspiring School Employees Award on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021.
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A crowd listens to Michael Evans accept the Utah Recognizing Inspiring School Employees Award in Ogden on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021.

OGDEN — Every day is an opportunity for things to go right or wrong. Either way, in the Weber School District, Michael Evans is prepared. Evans has spent 30 years with the district as a support professional and Tuesday he was recognized by the state for his work.

He is the second recipient of the Utah Recognizing Inspiring School Employees Award, handed to him by the office of Gov. Spencer Cox in front of a crowd of friends, colleagues and family.

Evans, who is also the Weber Education Support Professionals president, was honored to receive the award.

“The recognition means a lot, I think there’s other people that probably deserve it as much but it means a lot for what you’re doing and to be able to be the face of the people in the state for what we do, that’s great,” he said. “It’s a great honor, and I’ll probably remember this and cherish this day forever.”

As the lead fire security technician, he also helps run safety procedures like the intercom system, security alarms and more — meaning safety is the No. 1 priority.

“We try and keep everything to where you don’t have to worry about that day to day, you know, that they can come in, know that if there’s a problem it’ll go off and they’ll be able to get out of the building,” Evans said. “One life lost is too many.”

Looking back on his career — while expressing that he’s not comfortable talking about himself — Evans thinks more in the general kindness of students and colleagues. He did recall one group of at-risk students at Sandridge Junior High who would spend one period a day working with him cleaning the cafeteria, hallways and other places.

The award comes a week after a 15-year-old student at Weber High School was arrested for allegedly planning to attack the school. Evans praised the work of law enforcement and others in resolving the situation before anything could happen. He appreciated the work done by everyone involved and offered hope the student, who is still unnamed, can get to a better place in their life. “It might be able to help correct that one person’s life that, for whatever reason, they thought they needed to do something like that.”

The award itself is only in its third year of existence. The bill creating it, HB 148, was signed into law in March 2020 by Cox. According to a press release from the Governor’s Office, the award is meant to honor nominees for a host of traits including work performance, leadership, community involvement and more.

Evans is the third member of the Weber School District to receive statewide commendation this year, following Teacher of the Year Mark Daniels and Superintendent of the Year Jeff Stephens, both of whom were also in attendance.

For Jason Lewis, the Utah School Employees Association president, seeing the award go to Evans was meant to be. Lewis acknowledged the 30 years Evans has worked in the field and the importance of all support staff members, seen and unseen.

“One of the things I really wanted was to improve what ESPs were to everybody. When you talk to people in the Legislature, you talk to people in the public, they don’t know who the support people are,” Lewis said.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, which this year is Nov. 24, is now Education Support Professionals Day.

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